Let’s talk turkey: The truth about tryptophan

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on November 26, 2015.

This Thursday after digging into your delicious Thanksgiving meal, you might find yourself slouching on your sofa, pants feeling a little snug, and you might find yourself feeling a dozy. Your first inclination will likely be to blame that delectable turkey and all of that tryptophan. Because turkey has tryptophan, and tryptophan makes us sleepy, right?

Well… This may likely be a myth that we have all been telling ourselves. The science behind tryptophan is pretty clear: tryptophan is an essential amino acid that our bodies need to help make niacin and serotonin. Our bodies do not produce tryptophan, so we must get it from our diet. Serotonin is believed to help us sleep better and stabilize our moods. It would appear, then, if tryptophan helps us make serotonin, and serotonin helps us sleep, that consuming tryptophan would make us sleepy, right?

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Let’s talk turkey: The truth about tryptophan

Post-Thanksgiving NapThis Thursday after digging into your delicious Thanksgiving meal, you might find yourself slouching on your sofa, pants feeling a little snug, and you might find yourself feeling a dozy. Your first inclination will likely be to blame that delectable turkey and all of that tryptophan. Because turkey has tryptophan, and tryptophan makes us sleepy, right?

Well…

This may likely be a myth that we have all been telling ourselves. The science behind tryptophan is pretty clear: tryptophan is an essential amino acid that our bodies need to help make niacin and serotonin. Our bodies do not produce tryptophan, so we must get it from our diet. Serotonin is believed to help us sleep better and stabilize our moods. It would appear, then, if tryptophan helps us make serotonin, and serotonin helps us sleep, that consuming tryptophan would make us sleepy, right?

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Tech Talk Thursday: Sales Season Death Battle!

Beyond the retail tradition of shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday is now the steady fast Cyber Monday. But how is a shopper supposed to siphon out the best deal and on which day? I was overwhelmed and worried by the prospect of having to sort through an indigestible amount of Black Friday ads and mailing lists. What if I end up buying something I could get for a better deal on Cyber Monday? How is anyone supposed to get the best deal when Cyber Monday deals are usually not even announced until after Black Friday? What is this madness!?!?!

While I quested for the answers the biggest lesson I learned is that being a bargain shopper is all about your homework. Here’s the shakedown for the epic sales battle of Thanksgiving  vs. Black Friday  vs. Cyber Monday, when to shop and what to buy!

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Black Friday shopping can be overwhelming – let us help!

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Spotlight on Health: Let’s Talk Turkey…and Holiday Food Safety

Turkey

Mmm….Turkey….

Today is Thanksgiving and turkey is on everyone’s mind. But there is one other thing we should all be mindful of as we get ready for the day’s big meal: food safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Clostridium perfringens is the second most common cause of food poisoning from bacteria. Most outbreaks (92%) are caused by meat and poultry.

Here are few tips from the CDC on safely preparing, cooking, and storing your Thanksgiving feast for a happy, healthy holiday:

  • Always wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces immediately after handling raw poultry.
  • If using a frozen turkey, be sure to thaw your bird at a safe temperature. Bacteria thrives between 40 and 140°F.
  • The three safest ways to thaw your turkey (and any other frozen food) are (1) in the refrigerator; (2) in cold water; and (3) in the microwave. See the USDA’s “Safe Methods for Thawing” website to learn more.
  • To stuff in or out of the bird? The CDC’s answer to this debate is “for optimal safety and uniform doneness,” cook your stuffing outside the turkey in a separate casserole dish.
  • Always use a meat thermometer when cooking your turkey and be sure your turkey reaches a safe minimal internal temperature of 165°F. Stick the thermometer into the meatiest portions of the turkey breast, thing, and wing.
  • Refrigerate your Thanksgiving leftovers as soon as possible, ideally within 2 hours of preparation. This can prevent food poisoning. Be sure to keep your leftovers at 40°F or below.

For more information on having a safe food holiday, check out the CDC’s “It’s Turkey Time” website.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library!